Joel’s Autumn Rains (01-11-21)
The date of Joel’s writings is uncertain, but the context is around a plague of locusts that was devastating the whole region. Into this situation Joel’s prophecy offers the hope of deliverance if the nation will turn back to God. Joel then likens the deliverance of the nation from the locusts to the deliverance that will come through the promised Messiah and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Bible Reading: Joel 2:23-32
Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. "I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.
And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
A plague of locusts devours everything piece of vegetation in sight; crops that would have been harvested to feed the people and grassland that would have fed the livestock, both threatening the life and security of the people. We may see the current pandemic in this light, a plague threatening humanity, or there may have been situations in our lives when we feel we have lost everything, either financially or relationally.
Joel’s words promise that, after the devastation, God will restore the years that the locust has destroyed. He will send rains to refresh the land and revive the vegetation, the barns will again be filled with grain and the vats will be filled with wine and oil.
To all of us Joel’s words remain true. As we turn to God, he will restore to us the years that the locust has eaten. If you are struggling through any form of loss at the moment, look to God and trust him to fulfil his word in your life. If you have come through a time of loss into a time of blessing, give thanks to God for his faithfulness and for his blessings.
These words of Joel are seen by Peter in Acts 2 as prophecy about the day of Pentecost when God poured out his Holy Spirit on the Early Church in order to equip the Church, then and now, to proclaim the Good News of Jesus in the power and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. May we see people today turning to God again as we come out of the plague that is Covid 19 and may we see God restoring the years that the locust has eaten in our churches, in our communities, in our nation and around the world.
Joel’s prophecy tells us that the pouring out of the Holy Spirit is for everyone: male and female, young and old, slave and free, rich and poor. How can we help to break down those barriers in order to share the good news of Jesus and to welcome the outsider?
Come, Lord Jesus, pour out your Spirit today,
and restore the lives that the locust has destroyed.
Great is the darkness (Come, Lord Jesus)